Is OnlyFans right to suspend ban on sexually explicit content?
- OnlyFans was founded in 2016 by British businessman Tim Stokely as a subscriber-based social media platform specializing in adult content with 130 million users and 2 million creators.
- On August 19, 2021, OnlyFans announced it would block sexually explicit content from its website starting the first of October based on banks blocking payments. Although nude content would still be allowed, it would have to follow their policies.
- After receiving complaints from adult content creators, OnlyFans suspended their initial ban on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. Many sex workers lost subscribers from the announcement and left the company reasoning they felt “betrayed.”.
- The porn industry is valued at a net worth of $97 billion. In comparison, Hollywood movies make $10 billion annually. The porn industry makes more money than Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NBA combined.
OnlyFans plays a huge role in the online 'sex work' (the newly dubbed term for prostitution) world, but not to anyone's lasting benefit, particularly consumers or the workers themselves. 'Sex work' is exploitative of its workers, especially considering how clients don't know for certain whether or not the 'worker' is trafficked against their own free will. OnlyFans has specifically had reports of pedophilia and child trafficking. And given the site's billionaire owner, Leonid Radvinsky's, shady past involving websites linked to pedophilic and other pornographic websites, it's wise for users to steer clear. The site itself neglects any definite way to prevent these trafficking concerns and protect everyone on the site, so the content shouldn't be shared at all.
Sexual content found on OnlyFans gives the site a bad look, as most people mainly associate OnlyFans with its use as a sexually explicit content subscription site. This could prevent users from pursuing other ventures offered on the site in the future. Additionally, pornographic content being peddled by these OnlyFans influencers only help perpetuate the problem porn wreaks on our society, teaching young women everywhere they should be willing to sell their bodies to be successful in life.
OnlyFans isn't the only platform being criticized. Many pornographic websites are often criticized, shut down, or restrained due to their content—why should OnlyFans be any different? OnlyFans was initially motivated to ban sexually explicit content by banks from which they were seeking funding. Unsurprisingly, these financial institutions weren't interested in funding pornographic content. If OnlyFans still wants to rebrand and get funding, they need to drop their suspension and ban the content that is earning them so much criticism.
OnlyFans' decision to reverse their ban of sex-related content on their website is for the best. The company's original choice would not have put an end to sex work; it would simply avert sex workers towards more unfamiliar and risky avenues. The app offers an alternative for sex workers to prevent themselves from the dangers of being physically involved in the act of prostitution. 82% of female sex workers report having been physically assaulted during their time, with nearly 70% having been raped. In OnlyFans' second year of operation, sex-trafficking cases in the United States decreased by over 16%.
In many cases, OnlyFans users operate completely independently and virtually, preventing the workers from any potential harm from service-seekers or having to face uncomfortable situations. The platform allows a level of individuality and transparency that was unheard of prior to its creation. Seeing how directors and producers in pornography have been hit with a slew of sexual assault allegations over the years, OnlyFans has given sex workers more creative freedom and an opportunity to work independently with people they trust or just to work for themselves. And like much of the remaining business world, men tend to triumph. Still, OnlyFans elevates women so that men are no longer the sole achievers in this industry. They show what success can look like for women during the era of pandemics and increased online remote work.